Alcohol ban during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown: Lessons for preventing foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in South Africa
Adebiyi, Babatope O.
Mukumbang, Ferdinand C.
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During the two national lockdowns implemented in South Africa to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages were prohibited. There is observational evidence from the literature suggesting a drastic reduction in the emergency and trauma unit admissions in many South African hospitals and clinics with alcohol-related restrictions. This article explores the potential benefits of the restrictions placed on the sale and consumption of alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic on preventing foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in South Africa. Following the potential benefits of the alcohol bans, we recommended that the current South African national liquor policy and the 2012 South African government-drafted Bill for Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages should be fully implemented and enforced. Furthermore, the ‘best buys’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) should be adapted (based on local evidence) and executed. Implementing the abovementioned policies can reduce alcohol abuse by limiting and regulating the manufacturing, distribution, advertising, sponsorship, promotion, physical availability and hours of sale of alcoholic beverages in South Africa.